Sydney electronic and techno label Motorik has opened a collaborative store, studio and gallery space on Oxford Street.
Pat Santamaria, one of four promoters behind the label, says the space is an experimental project that arose from Covid-19 – the product of a search for a new recording studio at the start of lockdown. “Hats off to the real-estate agent (I never thought I’d say that) – she put us onto this space, and we just took it from there and ran with it,” Santamaria tells Broadsheet.
Since starting nine years ago as a “random one-off party” which evolved into a record label, the Motorik crew has become adept at just “running with it”. It’s responsible for launching the careers of now-internationally acclaimed Australian techno artists such as Made in Paris and Jensen Interceptor, hosting Friday sunset sessions on FBi Radio and throwing numerous warehouse parties and one-day music events across Sydney.
With no former retail experience, Motorik has leaned on its community to help bring the store together. Atelier Motorik is a simple space, painted black and fitted out with recycled materials and salvaged furniture. A counter made from old wooden planks is topped with objects by local makers and creatives, many of them one-off, made-to-order or crafted with recycled materials. There are beautiful ceramic vases and sculptures by Cosset, handmade jewellery from Cubone Club, bumbags and colourful perspex lamps, alongside prints and memorabilia tracing Motorik’s musical journey.
Vintage clothing, bags and footwear are curated by 108 Warehouse and hung from scaffolding that doubles as a clothes rack. The selection includes pieces from the likes of Japanese designer Junya Watanabe and New York’s Engineered Garments. Motorik’s own merchandise and clothing is for sale, too. Santamaria admits he was hesitant to open a store only to fill it with “stuff”, encouraging more consumption and waste, but everything is well-cared for and purposefully chosen.
At the back of the store, a huge vintage Klipsch sound system pumps out tunes from the group’s 1200-strong collection of second-hand vinyl. You can dig through crates, test out the mixing decks, or hang out and listen on the couch with a cup of filtered coffee, also by 108 Warehouse.
“We’re all avid record collectors, and being able to share that with the world is a huge part of the store,” Santamaria says.
Collaboration and experimentation are fundamental to Motorik’s success, and the label’s philosophy of championing emerging local artists has translated into the store. Its own recording studio hides behind the shop, while downstairs a gallery space is run by Sydney design and production studio Babekuhl, which has collaborated closely with Motorik over the years. The aim is to support new talent and eventually host openings and events, with shows spanning surrealist photography, painting and other multidisciplinary works.
Santamaria says the cancellation of music-based events due to lockdown has had a huge impact on the community aspect of their operation. “What’s crucial to rave culture is people coming together, sweating and hugging and being in a small room,” he says. “That’s so far from being a reality right now, but having a safe space where you can limit the amount of people but still come together over music is great. The door’s always open here.”
110 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Tue to Fri 12pm–6pm
Sat to Sun 10am–6pm